A federal plan to confront illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries, including effective seafood traceability, was announced March 15 at Seafood Expo in Boston by US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews.
Among the 15 recommendations in the presidential task force’s 40-page plan on combating IUU fishing and seafood fraud is one directing the task force to establish, within 18 months, the first phase of a risk-based traceability program to track seafood from point of harvest to entry into commerce in the United States.
Creating an integrated program that better facilitates data collection, sharing and analysis among relevant regulators and enforcement authorities would be a significant step forward in addressing IUU fishing and seafood fraud, the task force said. The plan is for the federal government to work with states, industry, and other stakeholders to develop and implement this program, consistent with US international legal obligations, including US obligations under the World Trade Organization agreement.
The program is to be initially applied to seafood products of particular concern because the species at issue are subject to significant seafood fraud or because they are at significant risk of being caught by IUU fishing.
The overall plan calls for a great deal of cooperative effort between federal, state and local governments, and foreign entities, including a recommendation to exchange relevant information and to encourage foreign customs administrations to cooperate in combatting IUU fishing and seafood fraud.
The final rule on these and other recommendations is to be issued by August 2016, in order for it to be effective by September 2016.
Details on the task force recommendations are posted online at www.nmfs.noaa.gov